Staying In

Can you really get to know someone virtually?

Those awkward first meetups and the decisions over whether to split the bill or not are temporarily not an issue.

With the closure of bars across Newcastle, dates are long gone, and strict social distancing rules mean that any chance of getting a goodnight kiss has gone out the window.

So, dating, for the time being, has gone online and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to take a closer look at this. What does full-time online dating look like and is it really possible to get to know someone virtually?

As a young single gal in Newcastle that does like to frequent the dating pool, the current COVID-19 outbreak has had me feeling a bit lost in the world of dating. It’s got me asking some serious existential crisis questions regarding my dating life…

  • How am I supposed to tell if my date is a good person if I don’t have the chance to see how they treat the waiter?
  • Will I ever know if they have nice aftershave on?
  • Do they even have pants on!?!?
  • Could I really find a future husband virtually? Note: not to be confused with a virtual husband; I don’t want one of those.

Ok so, some of these might be a little far-fetched, but I guess I just want to know how us single people are keeping our dating life healthy during these times.  So, for all the married and those in long-term relationships, this article might not be for you. But, if you’re single and ready to mingle, or even recently started dating someone new; listen on in…

To get a real understanding of how we’re all getting on, I called in for help from some of my single mates to share their experiences of dating during COVID-19. So, check out the below top tips on how to keep your dating life healthy, fun and alive!

Dating Apps

First things first, meeting someone out has temporarily been put on hold, so, if you’re not on the apps already go give them a download. My personal favourite would be Hinge, with Tinder trailing in not far after. Pour that glass of wine, or crack that beer open and get swiping people!

Talk about something other than COVID-19 (please) 

That’s right, there’s more to talk about in the world than the ongoing changes of COVID-19. Whilst it’s important to be aware about the importance of the topic, it’s not a great conversation starter when you’re trying to get to know someone, because you tend to take on each other’s worries and stresses.

“It’s like there are only so many times you can talk about the fucking virus before you want to die a slow death,” Amy* (25) said.

Call rather than text

This one is even hard for me to come to terms with. My body goes into shutdown when my phone rings, and especially when it’s from someone I like. I get verbal diarrhoea like you wouldn’t believe. BUT, it’s such an easier way to chat to someone and get a better feel of who they are as a person. Sarcasm and texting don’t go well together and for someone who considers themselves a bit of a sarcastic bitch, my messages aren’t always received the way I intended them to.

Send surprises (real and virtual)

Know their favourite café? Are they delivering? Send them a surprise coffee and cake. Or maybe you’ve just spotted a meme that you know will make them smile, send away! I’ve recently (a little late I know), jumped on the TikTok bandwagon, and think the idea of doing a virtual TikTok with someone sounds fabulously hilarious and I’m so down for it.

A little tip - if you wouldn't invite your tinder date around to your place on the first date, then maybe don't give them your address.

Date nights (virtually) 

That’s right – still make time for date nights! Light the candles, get dinner delivered separately and sit down in your best in front of your computer for one hell of a modern-day date night.

“I'd definitely be down for it, but I think a virtual first date is almost like new territory for dating apps like tinder and bumble and there's no real consensus on how to approach it,” Andrew (27) shared.

“No virtual meetups for this awkward gal! Can’t even say the conversations are anything more than bland surface level chats,” Scarlet* (25) said.

There’s also a new way to Netflix and chill, with Netflix’s newest option, Netflix Party. Pop that popcorn, pop on your daggiest pjs and snuggle into bed with Netflix party set up. If this isn’t the cutest first date, I don’t know what is (sarcasm).

If anything, I actually think that those who are dating in the current climate might actually learn a thing or two about how they communicate with someone they're interested in - who knows, maybe this might change our dating world forever!

“The dating world is weird right now! In ways, you can start conversations easier and have more in common with a stranger than ever before, but on the flip side, you also learn a lot about people during this time,” Bec* (22) said.

However, if your virtual dating isn’t all that successful, read this article; you can thank us later.

“Instead of stocking up on toilet paper, I would strongly recommend stocking up on batteries. It is going to be a long, cold (and lonely) winter and no-one wants to be left high and dry by their friends in the bedside drawer,” Jess (34) shared.

So, to all of us single guys and gals that might be feeling a little lonely, jump on that virtual dating bandwagon and make self-isolation a little less isolating.

If you’ve got any other virtual dating tips you think people should know about; email us!

*Some names have been changed to protect the interviewee’s identity.